Tag Archives: Annual review

A Bright Star No Longer Hidden

22 Jun

The annual review, a time for meeting with your child’s teachers and discussing progress, struggles and ideas. A meeting centred around your child’s special educational needs and the statement they hold.

Last week it was that time, the time for the Little man’s second annual review since attending his special independent school specifically for children on the autism spectrum. Lately, Little man’s attendance has been a little off the wall! Despite his love for his new school he continues to struggle to sleep of a night, often getting just a few hours sleep or none whatsoever. As one can imagine, mornings are becoming one huge battle us! For this reason alone I expected to hear how my son was falling dangerously behind that of his peers, what with his last school (mainstream primary school) insisting he had a reading age of 7, reception age writing skills, poor understanding of science and history, plus 2 levels below in maths and more besides. He was 10 at the time and I protested that my son wasn’t this far behind, especially in maths. His bedroom wall looked like some kind of number puzzle where he would cover it in mathematical problem solving and coding to a complex level (one even I struggled to understand)!

You see it was my conclusion that he was much brighter than he let on, but wasn’t showing this due to his unhappiness while attending a school who seriously struggled to meet any of his needs, both educational and developmental. It was during this particular annual review meeting that I realised just how right I was back then.

Here it comes… A seriously proud mummy moment…

Little man is two levels above his expect national curriculum level in maths. He is in year 7 and currently has a level of a child in year 9 on his way to year 10.

His also above in PE, Reading and more besides. He science levels were that of his expected age. English as a whole is also what is expected which just goes to show that my boy and any other child on the spectrum has the ability to shine given they are in the right environment to do so.

He has a great new system in which he can remove himself from the classroom to shake of any problems and excess energy with a run around the playground. He only has the ability to use his “Get Out Of Glass Card” twice for each lesson and teachers have reported that sometimes he finishes class having not used one. This may seem like such a minor thing but to a mum like me its pure music to my ears.

He also has a great reward system and school are working hard to try and discourage his swearing. Despite episodes still happening on a daily basis the improvements are slowly taking place and little man’s learning a little self control.

Proud… Oh yes, seriously proud! When your so used to being told the negative when it comes to your child’s education, you forget what its like to hear anything positive. This was a great example of this, it was the proudest I’d felt for a long time. I just wanted to shout about it from the roof tops.

Was I tempted to take a little walk through them office doors of his once mainstream school, the one in which his younger sister attends? Did I feel to wave his report in the air while shouting “Yer… Get a load of that! Thats my boy they are writing about!” Um maybe I did, just a little…I can’t lie. However, I don’t care what was once said! All that matters is that I have always believed in him even if those others who should have, instead made it their mission to write him off as a lost cause!

Well… Eat My Shorts!

My boys a star, a star that shines bright because his no longer hidden.

So, if you have a bright star that is currently struggling to be seen through the clouds then don’t give up on them! Believing is the key to your child’s educational success and as long as you believe others will follow. Never give up, fight for them to be seen as the star you know them to be.

Mum, I want to design Aeroplanes

10 May

“So, I received a call today from your teacher!”

Moments silence

Then….

“Whats the point mum” Mumbled the little man in a somewhat miserable tone!

“Excuse me” I replied “You haven’t even heard what I have to say yet”.

“But I know mum, I know I’m in trouble” he replied.

“You’re not in trouble, I’m just disappointed that you’re not showing your full potential, what when things were going so well!”

He said nothing, just stared at his feet.

“You’re refusing to engage in your work, you’re falling behind and this year you will be going to secondary school”

“But I don’t want to go there” he shouted as he made his escape out the door and up the stairs to retreat to his sanctuary.

I knew better than to set chase and bombard him with a thousand and one questions, this would only induce a meltdown! Instead I sat head in hands totally lost at what it was I was meant to do next.

Time lapsed, I heard footsteps on the stairs. The little man emerged with a look of seriousness plastered across his face.

“Mum… I’ve messed up to much already to do well now!”

Whatever did he mean I thought to myself!

“How?” I asked

“It’s too late mum, I messed up my education in my old school, I can’t get them years of learning back”

“You’re way to clever, you know that” I encouraged.

“You have 6 more years to make it right, before your GCSE”

He shook his head, proceeded to tell me that I didn’t understand.

I needed to get to the shops before they closed, Little man came too and the conversation continued as we walked around the store…

“How will I start my own business?” he asked inquisitively!

“I want to design and own hotels! I want to design Aeroplanes, how will any of the stuff I learn at school help me achieve this mum?”

“It’s never going to happen” he shouted aloud!

“We all have to learn things that don’t exactly apply to the occupation that we have chosen to pursue as a career. That’s just the way life is” I explained.

“Anyhow, you may feel that something has no direct relation to the occupation you have chosen but often it does” I assured him.

“example… Mummy wants to work in education law but to do so fully, I will need a law degree! This will require me to learn criminal law despite the fact I will not really need it for the work I want to do!”

Little man looked somewhat appalled, shaking his head he said aloud but to himself…

“What a total waste of time”

Technically I couldn’t have agreed more with the little man, but this was beside the point. We all need to learn things even if we feel we don’t need to! Explaining this to a child is hard in itself but to explain this to an 11 year old boy with Aspergers syndrome, who thinks in completely black and white terms was proving a bit of a challenge.

“Why did you tell my teacher about my business idea?”

“Because it’s a good one” I repiled.

I just wanted to help your teacher to inspire you to work by creating a project that you are interested in contributing to.

“But I felt silly” he replied lowering his head.

“Why?” I asked

“Because other children ain’t like me, even those with Aspergers” he snapped.

By now we’re at the checkout, I’m aware that others can fully hear this difficult conversation we’re having.

I try to reassure the little man.

He then proceeds to inform me that his teacher told him that my conversation had inspired him to change his lesson plan for IT.

I ask the Little man if this is a bad thing?

He tells me it is not but he is a little confused as to how this is in anyway inspiring?

“Now Richard Branson, that’s inspiring” He tells me in no uncertain terms.

The woman behind me is loading her shopping onto the belt, she’s very aware of the conversation (Little man isn’t the quietest of speakers you know). She smiles looks right at the little man and tells him that maybe one day he’ll be inspiring too!

The Little Man’s response was to tell her that he will never be inspiring. The lady tells him that tomorrow he should go into school and surprise his teacher with his cleverness.

I smile at the sweet woman for her lovely words of encouragement as we leave the store and head across the road back home.

“So, will you try tomorrow?” I asked enthusiastically.

“Maybe?” He repiled with a shrug.

“And I don’t want you to swear, you hear me”?

“I’ll try” he replies

So, there it was a little progress, or so I thought. Then today I discover a voicemail from his teacher expressing the same concerns from the day previous. This time though, his not only refusing to participate in any work but is totally misbehaving too.

Now I know things go much deeper, his past experiences of mainstream have left him with very little self confidence, this will take longer to rebuild then first expected. His also got the upheaval of secondary school to come. I know this doesn’t require him to change school, we’re lucky enough that his independent special school will educate him up In-till his 16 years old. This is still a very scary experience for the Little man.

It will often takes my son a great deal of time to trust adults/teachers, especially since mainstream, but once you have gained this trust and built a relationship with the little man he relies upon it a great deal. He has now built such a relationship with his class teacher and knowing he will be leaving this teacher come July has really hit home for the Little man.

With the LEA still not responding which makes his annual review well over due, his head teacher is getting on the case to get things sorted! I only hope he makes improvements sooner than later.

I just want him to smile and start believing in himself.

Dreams can become reality and I know my son has the capability to build hotels, aeroplanes and anything else he desires. I just wish he knew this too!

My contribution to the world of SEN

11 Sep

A while back I came up with the idea of creating a number of information sheets, that contained information for parents regarding special educational needs (SEN). These would be first published on the blog with the option of a download via my, ‘Goggle Doc’s’. 

 Like always, I took this plan and laid it out bear, for all members of my facebook page to see! This was in the hope of gaining constructive feedback, and establishing just how many people within one group may benefit from such information! The feedback has been overwhelming, with all that responded requesting I push on a head as many are at their wit’s end.

 Bearing in-mind the, ‘Green paper’ and the impact it would have on the way an LEA statemented a child, I was unsure whether It would now be a waste of time to go ahead with such an idea. However, given the response and the fact I’m still seeing a mass of parents visiting the, ‘Boy with Asperger’s facebook page’ on a daily basis, all with the same concerns, relating to the SEN system, especially that of the statementing process, (how it works and what rights they have). I decided to go ahead! 

 Of course these documents will need a complete overhaul, once the new system comes into play, but for now, they may be very beneficial to somebody who is about to, or otherwise already on, the Special educational needs roller-coaster.

 It’s a big old jungle out there, meaning there is a huge amount of information you will require! So… this is how if decided to deliver it!

I will create three sections, these will be… section one,‘Understanding Special educational needs’ (requests, assessments, decisions). Section two, ‘Tribunal, the right to appeal’. Section three, ‘Preparation and the hearing’. Section four, ‘Maintaining a statement of SEN’(annual review, requests & decisions) Section five, ‘Disability discrimination

 Now you know what Sections will be covered, here’s what each will contain!

 Section one, ‘Understanding Special education needs’ (request, assessments and decisions):

  1. Introduction to Special educational needs (SEN)
  2. Stages of SEN & Is my child receiving the right support
  3. Request for a, ‘Statutory Assessment’
  4. Decision to make a, ‘Statutory Assessment’ (Process & time-scales involved in carry out an assessment)
  5. Decision to Statement (Delivered in three sections 1) The proposed statement, 2) Parental choice (type of school, including a break down of options) 3) The final statement.

Section two: ‘Tribunal, the right to appeal’

  1. A refusal to carry out a statutory assessment
  2. A refusal to issue a statement
  3. Appealing the contents of a first Statement (including the school named in part 4)
  4. Appealing the contents of an amended statement
  5. A refusal to amend following a statutory reassessment 
  6. A refusal to change the school named in part 4 of a statement
  7. An LEA’s decision not to amend a statement of SEN following an annual review
  8. An LEA’s Decision to cease to maintain a statement

Section Three: ‘Preparation and the hearing and decisions ’

  1. Mediation 
  2. Witnesses 
  3. Working documents
  4. Representation
  5. The hearing
  6. The decision

Section four: ‘Maintaining a statement’ (annual reviews, requests and decisions)

  1. The LEA’s duty to deliver the contents of a statement (required steps if duty is not delivered)
  2. The right to request the school named in a child’s statement 
  3. Requesting a Reassessment of your child’s special educational needs
  4. The Annual Review process (Including information on an interim review)
  5. The Annual Review Year 9
  6. Annual Review Year 10

Section five: Disability discrimination

  1. Admissions
  2. Every child’s right to education
  3. School trips and education & additional activities (including playtimes, assembles, after school activities)
  4. Unofficial exclusions
  5. Exclusions
  6. Alternative education
  7. Permanent exclusion
  8. Raising complaints
  9. Claiming Disability discrimination and the Law!
  10. The order of the tribunal

 Each section will come with useful links and contacts. Section one, (a) will be posted on Monday the 12 th September. This post will be copied and added to the SEN, Know how! Page (This page will list all the post already published, providing a link for easy allocation). This means you will be able to locate your desired section and its content whenever you require it. It’s a challenge to bring you, my readers, all of the above. But those that know me, even in cyber-space, will know, I love a challenge!

My plan is to cover all the above, depending on how fast I can do so, is yet to be seen. Remember the laws and procedures applying  to Special educational needs are all gearing up for a change (I will adapt this as need be, in-order to fit in with the new Education, health and Social care plans as of when it arises). As for how often I can publish each section and what it contains is random. I’m not prepared to tie myself to a certain day of the week, for one, this would be far to many weeks and at times I may decided to write two at once, or three a week, other weeks, I may have no time to write non at all. SEN is a complicated process, you really do need to be in the right frame of mind to get this out there. You should also remember I haven’t personally been through every single one of the listed above. However, I have been through many, and have read and studied a great deal in the subject. 

 Disclaimer: The information provided, has no bearing on my role as a tribunal adviser with NAS, and the advice provided is given on an independent level through my own choice to help others dealing with the listed issues and is created to form an additional feature to this blog and my facebook support page. Each post will contain a link that enables you to download as a fact-sheet via Goggle Docs. Copyright still remains the same! No one should copy or republish the information without given credit to the author and providing a Link back. If you require the use of this informational for anything but personal reasons, full permission must be sought. Please do not edit any of the wording in any of the post or the downloaded documents (these are provided for personal use only)!

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